Chilling out in Carriacou
by SV Crystal Blues on 20 Apr
We feel like we earned this place - after sweating it out in Trinidad for several months, Carriacou is a delightful backwater in the Caribbean, peaceful and relatively undeveloped, with beautiful beaches. The local population is only 8,000 folks, a mix of African, East Indian and European decent. It’s a simple place, where people greet you on the bus and welcome you to their island. As it happens, the most significant home on the island is owned by sailing friends we met in Trinidad - that's it in the image at left, with Crystal Blues moored up in front.
Moored Off Paradise Beach SV Crystal Blues
Tyrrel Bay in the south west of the island is the most sheltered anchorage, with a gently shelving sandy bottom that has space for sixty to a hundred boats, all in water between 3.0 and 5.0 meters deep. Development is coming here, as everywhere, with a major new marina under construction, including hard stand and 100 tonne (!) travel lift. Customs and Immigration clearance procedures are simple, and there are no harbour fees or other charges for visiting yachts.
So we hung out with friends for a week or so, swimming, relaxing and (of course) still working on boat jobs - mainly dealing with work that was done badly by contractors in Trinidad - but that’s another story... Fresh produce was easy to come by - our fruit and vegetables were sold by the grower from his roadside stall overlooking the beach, complete with hammock bed for when the cash register goes quiet.
This was the first island where we started to encounter charter yachts, invariably populated by excited white-skinned Europeans or Americans. It was also the first place where quality French cheese, wine and breads were plentiful and reasonably priced. Oh joy.
Compared to Trinidad, and even Grenada, the community here is much more relaxed, respectful and seemingly contented - in fact it reminded us of our time in Charlotteville, Tobago (read about that very special place here and here).
As we move north we are constantly coming across species that are new to us southerners - even the common seagulls here are new and different to us.
The weather is also becoming distinctly cooler - lower humidity is already making us more in the day, and even distinctly cool at night. We're headed for the USA, where there was snow on the ground in Boston just a week or so back - roll on summer, please. We plan to move north to Martinique, St. Martin and the BVI's before veering north west towards the US coast.
From Trinidad north the islands are all delightfully close to each other - it was 80 miles to Grenada and then only 40 miles to Carriacou. The entire passage north can be done in 'day hops' if you have the time, however we'll be making some bigger jumps to see us on the US coast in time for summer, and far enough north to minimise risks of the associated hurricane season.
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